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Best beers: IPAs, golden ales, flavoured and low-alcohol craft beers

Our panel of beer experts blind tasted 30 beers to uncover the best supermarket options to buy
Rebecca Marcus
People drinking beer

Supermarket beer aisles have expanded considerably in recent years, with new categories emerging onto the scene, from IPAs to low alcohol and speciality flavoured beers.

To find out which supermarket beers are worth stocking up on, we asked a panel of beer experts to blind taste 30 beers including traditional golden ales, IPAs (Indian Pale Ales) and some more adventurous flavoured beers, along with some low alcohol options. 

Our independent taste tests revealed five standout Best Buys, plus some impressive cheap options worth trying if you're after a brilliant beer on a budget. 

Whether you're looking for a a punchy IPA, a traditional golden ale - or you're wanting to branch out and try flavoured beers - our expert picks have got you covered.


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Best traditional golden ales

Traditional golden ales

We tested six traditional golden ales from the likes of Dark Star Hophead, Timothy Taylor, and Wainwright. 

Our experts uncovered one Best Buy that stood out for its crisp, refreshing taste and well-balanced flavours, as well as a good value cheaper option worth considering.

Only logged in Which? members can view our top beer picks, full test results and tasting notes. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the beer on test instead. To get instant access to these and all our reviews, join Which? today.

Golden Ales on test:

  • Dark Star Hophead 3.8%, £1.65 for 500ml (£3.30 per litre). Available from Morrisons.
  • Lidl Hatherwood Gold Ale 4.1%, 99p for 500ml (£1.98 per litre). Available from Lidl (in store only).
  • Morland Brewing Old Golden Hen 4.1%, £1.90 for 500ml (£3.80 per litre). Available from Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose.
  • Oakham Ales JHB 4.2%, £1.86 for 500ml (£3.72 per litre). Available from Oakham Ales.
  • Timothy Taylor’s Landlord 4.1%, £1.70 for 500ml (£3.40 per litre). Available from Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose.
  • Wainwright The Golden Beer 4.1%, £1.50 for 500ml (£3 per litre). Available from Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

Best IPAs (up to 5% ABV)

IPAs up to 5%

This category featured IPAs such as Camden Pale Ale, Vocation Heart & Soul and Salt Jute. The top scoring can was a real hit with our panel, scoring a whopping 15% higher than the next best beer on test - but several others disappointed with their lack of flavour and balance.

Only logged in Which? members can view our top beer picks, full test results and tasting notes below. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the beer on test. To get instant access, join Which? today.

IPAs up to 5% ABV on test:

  • Camden Pale Ale 4%, £6 for 4x330ml (£4.55 per litre). Available from Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's and Tesco.
  • Lost & Grounded Wanna Go To The Sun 4.6%, £3 for 500ml (£6.82 per litre). Available from Waitrose.
  • Salt Jute Session IPA 4.2%, £5.50 for 4x4330ml (£4.17 per litre). Available from Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco
  • Seven Brothers Throw Away IPA 5%, £2.55 for 440ml (£5.80 per litre). Available from Ocado.
  • Thornbridge Bliss Point 5%, £3 for 440ml (£6.82 per litre). Available from Sainsbury's.
  • Vocation Heart & Soul 4.4%, £2 for 330ml (£6.06 per litre). Available from Amazon.

Best IPAs (over 5% ABV)

IPAs over 5%

Six high strength IPAs went head to head in this category, which included beers from St Austell, Siren and Beavertown, as well as a cheap 99p can from Aldi. Our Best Buy had lovely soft citrus notes, but it wasn’t the only one that our experts rated – they also found a good runner up which impressed with its fruity flavour profile.

Only logged in Which? members can view our top beer picks, full test results and tasting notes. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the beer on test instead. To get instant access to these and all our reviews, join Which? today.

IPAs over 5% ABV on test:

  • Aldi Buckhorn Brewing Stateside IPA 5.5%, 99p for 330ml (£3 per litre). Available from Aldi.
  • Bad Co. American IPA 5.2%, £1.25 for 330ml (£3.79 per litre). Currently unavailable.
  • Beavertown Lupoloid IPA 6.7%, £2.30 for 330ml (£6.97 per litre). Available from Tesco.
  • Rooster’s Thousand Yard Stare 5.4%, £3 for 440ml (£6.82 per litre). Available from Waitrose.
  • Siren Soundwave IPA 5.6%, £1.80 for 330ml (£5.45 per litre). Available from Sainsbury's and Waitrose.
  • St Austell Proper Job IPA 5.5%, £1.60 for 500ml (£3.20 per litre). Available from Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose.

Best low-alcohol craft beers

low alcohol beers

Making a great-tasting beer without the booze is a tricky thing and our test showed that if you want a decent low alcohol option, it pays to be picky. We pitted six beers from the likes of BrewDog, Beavertown and Brooklyn Brewery against each other to find out who does it best.

Only logged in Which? members can view our top beer picks, full test results and tasting notes. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the beer on test instead. To get instant access to these and all our reviews, join Which? today.

Low-alcohol craft beers on test:

To see how low-alcohol everyday beers from the big brands fared when we put them to the test, see our low-alcohol beer consumer taste test.


Want more expert booze picks? See our pick of the best gins and best red wine, plus all the best BBQ fayre in our Best food and drink guide.


Get the best from your beer: how to store and serve

People drinking glasses of beer

Even the best beers can go bad in the wrong environment. Follow these tips from our beer experts to keep yours in top condition:

  • Keep your beer in a cool, dark place, especially in summer. Exposure to UVA and UVB will break down the compounds in the hops, which become ‘off’ flavours. 
  • Store corked bottles on their side and bottles with metal crown caps or cans standing up.
  • While beer is great served chilled, our experts suggested letting it warm slightly to bring out more of the flavours and aromas as you drink it. 
  • Make sure your glasses are properly clean. Bubbles adhering to the side of the glass means they’re not completely clean, which can influence the taste of the beer.
  • Pour into a glass angled at 45 degrees and leave space for the head, as it adds to the aroma and taste of the first sip. 
  • Some glasses suit a specific style of beer better than others, but our experts maintain that ‘it’s more fun to have the right beer than the right glass’. 

How to match food and beer

Beer with barbecue food

Not everyone’s tastes are the same, but when matching beers with food, some go better than others. 

Our experts suggest aiming to match the intensity of the beer with the intensity of the food. So, if you're having a light summer dish, choose a light beer to drink with it - a beer that's too heavy can overwhelm the flavours in your food.

Try cutting through, complementing, and contrasting flavours too. For example, you could try a sharp citrussy beer with oily sardines, or a sweeter beer with salty halloumi. A big, bitter IPA sits well alongside sweet, sticky american-style barbecue foods.

The best beers to pair with your barbecue food - get more expert tips on how to choose a beer that brings out the best in your favourite summer foods.

How we test beers and who our experts are

Our panel of four independent beer experts blind-tasted 30 beers across five different categories in April 2022 to find the best options for summer available in supermarkets. 

The categories were: traditional golden ales, IPAs up to 5%, IPAs over 5%, flavoured and low-alcohol beers.

Our expert panel included: 

  • Melissa Cole Award-winning beer writer and one of the UK's leading beer and food experts 
  • Laura Hadland Beer and food writer, committee member of the Guild of Food Writers
  • John Keeling Former Brewing Director and current Global Ambassador of Fuller’s and Chairman of London Brewer’s Alliance 
  • Bill Simmons British Guild of Beer Writers member, international beer judge and consultant

Products were disguised and poured independently, so the experts didn't know which beer they were trying, and the order of tasting was rotated within each category and by expert to avoid any bias. 

After all the beers in a category had been tasted, the panel discussed the scores they'd given for each product, including any strong differences of opinion and the overall quality of the products, before agreeing on which deserved to be Best Buys.

How to recycle beer bottles and cans

recycling box

Glass bottles can usually go in your household recycling bin. If your council doesn’t accept them, you can take them to a local bottle bank. Make sure to empty out all the liquid, give the bottle a quick rinse and put the lid back on to reduce the chance of it getting lost during the sorting process.  

Metal drinks cans can usually go in your household recycling bin. Make sure to give the tin a quick rinse and pop the lid inside. Labels are removed as part of the recycling process, so you don’t need to take them off beforehand. If you buy a multipack, you can usually recycle the plastic ring joiners and wrappers at supermarket plastic collection points.